US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Burma, becoming the first senior US official in more than 50 years to visit the country.
During the landmark visit, Mrs Clinton is scheduled to hold a meeting lasting several hours with Burma's president Thein Sein. She is also due to fly to Rangoon for her first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel-prize winning democracy movement leader she has described as "an inspiration".
Speaking to reporters before her arrival, Clinton said,
"I am obviously looking to determine ... what is the intention of the current government with respect to continuing reforms.
We and many other nations are quite hopeful that these flickers of progress ... will be ignited into a movement for change that will benefit the people of the country."
The Kachin Independence Organisation, one of the largest armed ethnic opposition groups in Burma, welcomed the Secretary of State’s visit commenting,
"US can make Burma change towards democracy. The conflict has become serious and the need to solve it is urgent."
Some minorities have expressed fears that the visit could be exploited as legitimising the government, which was slowly began implementing reforms.
Alan Saw U, a community organiser from the Karen ethnic group in Rangoon, said he hoped Clinton would "focus on democratisation. We don't want her visit to be ... abused by the ruling authorities."
Last week the former secretary general of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and minister of health, Maithripala Sirisena, was announced as the common opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.
The director for the media and information center for the Pope’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, urged political groups to refrain from using cut outs of the Pope in their campaigns for the presidential elections.
Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 14 Indian fishermen, claiming that they were poaching in Sri Lankan waters.
The Sri Lankan navy also took into custody three fishing trawlers that belonged to the fishermen.
The US Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Michele Sison, has been confirmed as the deputy representative of the United States to the UN and the UN Security Council, and the representative of the US at the UN General Assembly.
The Sri Lankan government has questioned the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council, over its decision to pursue an independent inquiry into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, despite its objections, reported Colombo Gazette.